Connect with us


Family found huddled together, dead after Phuket Town blaze



PHUKET: A family of three and one woman were found dead this morning in a smoldering Phuket Town furniture shop after firefighters spent three hours battling the deadly flames.

The family was found huddled together and the woman was found near a barred window. A fifth person, the owner of the building, managed to leap to safety from the second floor.

“While the fire was still burning, Janhorm Jakkaew, 51, jumped. Firefighters caught her with a jump sheet,” said Maj Sakchai Chunyong of Phuket City Police.

“She first realized that there was a fire after the smell of smoke woke her up. She tried to notify others in the building, but she couldn’t find anyone in the heavy smoke.”

Despite the Browder Life Saving net, Ms Janhorm suffered a broken arm and leg. She was rushed to Vachira Phuket Hospital after she informed firefighters that four people were still stuck inside.

Steel cages over many of the windows prevented firefighters from entering the building through alternative routes, forcing them to battle the blaze at the main door, Maj Sakchai said.

“The fire started at about 2am and wasn’t under control until about 5am,” said Maj Sakchai.

Once firefighters were able to gain access, they found and identified the victims as: Mongkol Rueanchai, 45; Nucharee Rueanchai, 42; Theerawat Rueanchai, 9; and Thanya Karnnapat, 32.

“The three bodies of the family members were found in the same place. They were all huddled together. It appeared that the father was trying to protect his son from the smoke, while the child was holding onto his mother,” Maj Sakchai told the Phuket Gazette.

The three victims had no signs of burns.

“We believe that they died from smoke inhalation,” Maj Sakchai said.

The fourth victim, Ms Thanya, was found near a barred window. She was severely burned.

The fire in the Chockchai furniture shop, located at the intersection of Srisutat Road and Amphur Road, started on the second floor of the three-storey building, and quickly spread because of the presence of highly-flammable material used for furniture construction, said Maj Sakchai.

The first to respond to emergency calls was a Phuket City Municipality firetruck that had only half a tank of water. It took another 20 minutes for five more firetrucks to arrive.

Witnesses told police that they heard what sounded like an explosion before the fire started.

“Though we have yet to confirm it, we believe the fire could have been caused by a short circuit,” said Maj Sakchai.

The estimated costs of the damage to the building is more than 7 million baht, confirmed Maj Sakchai.

The Chockchai fire marks the deadliest blaze on the island since four people were killed in a pre-dawn fire at the Tiger Bar and Discotheque in Patong (story here).

The long-awaited manslaughter trial over the deaths of the four people at Tiger Disco will begin with its first witness testimony in April 2015 (story here).

Miraculously, no deaths were reported (story here) in the blaze that ravaged the SuperCheap shopping warehouse in Phuket last year (story here). The smoldering fire left only charred remains (story here), and did at least an estimated 500mn baht in damage (story here).

— Saran Mitrarat


Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Visa9 hours ago

CCSA to consider extending Thailand tourist visa to 45 days

Bangkok9 hours ago

Man caught taking drugs inside a Bangkok police booth didn’t give a crap

Thailand9 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Thailand no longer considers Covid “dangerous infectious disease” 

Sponsored17 hours ago

Enjoy a splashing time and immerse yourself in Thai Mythology in Andamanda Phuket

Crime9 hours ago

Wife says boss of Mountain B in Pattaya is ‘not a villain’

Crime10 hours ago

Policeman poses as Buddhist monk to trick drug dealers in central Thailand

Travel10 hours ago

Stress-free travel with AXA Travel Insurance

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Guides10 hours ago

Mother’s Day in Thailand 2022: 5 fun ways to pamper your mom

Thailand10 hours ago

Thai minister insists minimum wage increase is not electioneering

Bangkok11 hours ago

Swedish Embassy hailed for giving 6-month parental leave to Thai staff

Travel12 hours ago

Everything you need to know about the Bangkok Skytrain (BTS)

Environment12 hours ago

PM warns Thailand to brace itself for potential flooding

Travel13 hours ago

Watch Koh Samui’s magical sunset from these sunset bars

Thailand13 hours ago

Local hero predicts building collapse, saves countless lives in eastern Thailand

Phuket13 hours ago

9 year old boy kills a 7 year old girl with a police pistol in Phuket

Press Room14 hours ago

Southeast Asia’s sauciest tech event, Techsauce Global Summit to return to Bangkok in physical form

Thailand11 months ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism1 year ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism1 year ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism1 year ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11